Journal article

Forest plantations, water availability, and regional climate change: controversies surrounding Acacia mearnsii plantations in the upper Palnis Hills, southern India

Haripriya Rangan, Christian A Kull, Lisa Alexander

Regional Environmental Change | SPRINGER HEIDELBERG | Published : 2010


Plantation forests not only impact carbon and water cycles, but also affect biodiversity, livelihoods, and shape regional economies. Each of these impacts differs across varying scales of analysis. This paper illustrates how forest, climate change and hydrology debates play out in the context of the forest plantations of Australian black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) in the upper Palni hills of southern India. We outline the contradictory perspectives of different local groups regarding the impact of plantations on catchment hydrology and water availability, and examine these in relation to changes in the regional economy and rainfall patterns. Our analysis indicates that changes in these two fac..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the Australian Research Council (DP 0666131). The authors are grateful to Mr. Sakthivelu of the Bryant Park Botanical Gardens in Kodaikanal, Ms. Girija Viraraghavan, M. S. Viraraghavan, Mr. Antony, and other members of the Palni Hills Conservation Council; Bob Stewart and Tanya Balcar of the Vattakanal Conservation Trust; the District Forest Officer, Kodaikanal Division; the leather goods manufacturers in Chennai; and respondents from Kodaikanal, Poombarai, Mannavanur, Kavunji, Kookal, Poondi, and Polur for useful insights and information. We also thank Phil Scamp for cartographic assistance and Craig Thorburn and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on previous drafts.